Ever wanted to test a host of adrenaline-pumping adventures over the course of just a few days? Head to Lake Macquarie and you can do just that. Fill a weekend with abseiling before heading sky high for a flying lesson, kayaking across the lake, then finish by tearing it up at a mountain bike park. And the best part? It’s less than two hours’ drive from Sydney!
Here, the great outdoors are used as a base for some serious fun, with Lake Macquarie providing one mighty good activity menu from the bush to the water. Whether you’re into national parks, water sports, or aren’t afraid to test your fear of heights, the region offers a little something for any thrill-seeker.[related_articles]67701,56054,65430[/related_articles]
#1 Freefall At Over 200km/hr
Let’s kick things off with the most daring: skydiving out of a plane at 15,000ft. If you’re one of those people that can’t see any good reason to stay belted into your plane seat, take the leap and experience free-falling at over 200km/hr above the stunning scenery of Lake Macquarie.
The views of the landscapes and coastline from above are worth all the pre-jump nerves and, once your parachute opens up, you’ll enjoy floating above the sandy swirls of the Swansea Channel.
#2 Flying Lessons In A Gyrocopter
Keeping things aerial, if jumping out of a plane isn’t your thing, why not learn to fly one instead? With Airborne Flight Training, you can get behind the instruments of a gyrocopter, microlight or hang-glider. Microlights feature open cockpits, meaning you can soar through the sky with the wind in your hair (or helmet!).
If you opt for a gyrocopter, prepare to feel like you’re stepping inside the set of an action film with this robot-like machine awaiting you on the runway.
Fifteen-minute lessons start from $95.
#3 Water Sports On Lake Macquarie
Back at sea level, Lake Macquarie is the ideal waterway for anything that floats. The team at Jet Buzz Water Sports offer kayaks, stand-up paddle (SUP) boards, and boats for hire year-round, so you can explore the lake from all angles.
The calm waters of the lake offer the perfect opportunity to test your balance on a SUP board. Alternatively, if you’re thinking you’ll spend most of your time falling off, you may want to continue the thrills with a jetboat ride. Not for the faint of heart, you can choose between a Lake Thrill Ride or Ocean Extreme adventure, where you’ll cruise down the Swansea Passage, across the bar and out to the high seas. It’s an insane test of your seafaring skills!
Pricing starts at $50 per adult for the Jet Thrill Ride, $30 per hour for kayak hire, $25 for SUP boards and $105 for two hours of tinny hire.
#4 Learn To Surf
Take advantage of over 30km of pristine beaches and make Lake Macquarie the place you learn to surf. Bring your balance and a good dollop of sunscreen before meeting the team from Newcastle Surf School at one of the many beginner-friendly beach breaks along the coast.
Redhead Beach at the northern end of Nine Mile Beach is a favourite spot for surfers and beach goers alike. During your surf lesson, you’ll be taught both how to stand up on a surfboard and all about wave selection, checking for rips and currents, and some training tips.
#5 Gain Momentum At The Awaba Mountain Bike Park
Featuring more than 12km of cross-country trails, the Awaba Mountain Bike Park is where to go if you’ve got the need for speed. Follow Mount Faulk Road until you see the entrance to the park, then take your pick between various tracks based on distance and difficulty.[related_articles]63822,39876,32132[/related_articles]
If you’re new to mountain biking, get in touch with Momentum Is Your Friend to see what programs they’ve got coming up around Lake Macquarie. You can check their current calender of events here. Alternatively, take a peek at the Hunter Mountain Bike Association’s website, where they’ve got downloadable maps of the bike park so you can decide whether you’ll conquer the downhill Monkey trail or the Camelback Climb on an uphill challenge.
#6 Abseil Beside A Waterfall In The National Park
Lake Macquarie is home to a number of national parks and nature reserves that offer the chance to strap on your hiking boots or swing off a cliff. If the latter doesn’t sound too daunting, give it a go at the Glenrock State Conservation Area or Watagans National Park amongst lush rainforest.
The team from Out and About Adventures will help you come to terms with walking backwards off a cliff (yikes!), as you conquer heights from five to 80m. Anyone from eight years old and above can give it a go and, if you’re lucky, you might get to abseil the 45m over Gap Creek Falls, one of the most impressive sights in NSW.
Lead image courtesy of Matt Hall Racing Lake Macquarie
Love the Lake. To find out more and to start planning your trip, visit the Lake Macquarie website.
Lisa Michele Burns is a travel and underwater photojournalist. She publishes a guide to the world's most photogenic locations and outdoor experiences at The Wandering Lens and regularly hosts photo tours in destinations like Iceland, Japan and a little closer to home in Australia.